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BA History and French / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers

Unit code CAHE30882
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course examines the structure and development of the Roman Army from c.31BC to c.AD 235. It also looks at Rome’s expansion to the North and West during this period and examines the nature and management of the frontiers so produced.


The aim of this course is to give an understanding of the functioning of the Roman army and the frontiers of the Roman Empire in its Northern and Western regions.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure of the Roman Army, the campaigns of the army in the North and West, the nature and theoretical discussion of the North Western frontiers of the Roman Empire during the period studied.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • analyse ancient source material;
  • critically analyse competing forms of evidence.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • present a critical argument in writing and orally.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • present a critical argument in writing and orally;
  • analyse and present complex arguments.

Employability skills

The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Seminar assignment  0%
Essay 1 50%
Essay 2 50%


Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on formative and summative assessment (see above); all summative coursework feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assessment. Students are encouraged to seek formative feedback ahead of the first assignment of the unit by discussing work plans and approaches during seminars (where appropriate) and in consultation hours.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

•       E Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (Baltimore & London 1976)

•       S Mattern, Rome and the Enemy. Roman Imperial Strategy in the Principate (1999)

•       C Whittaker, Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Baltimore:1994)

•       G Webster, The Roman Imperial Army (London 1979)

•       Y Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army (London 1994) 

•       D Breeze & B Dobson, Hadrian's Wall (London 1991)

•       A Bowman, Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (London 1994)

•       B. Campbell, The Roman Army 31 BC-AD337, a sourcebook (London 1994)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Fear Unit coordinator

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